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tinha estado ficando cortado’

Portuguese translation: 'had been being cut'

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17:57 Aug 9, 2006
English to Portuguese translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / gloss
English term or phrase: tinha estado ficando cortado’
This is the sentence given for the gloss

CR cortar3O3SIMPFANT
zabrowa
Local time: 09:16
Portuguese translation:'had been being cut'
Explanation:
I can't think of anything else it could be.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2006-08-10 02:30:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

First of all, the free translation would be: "was being cut." But that is not the GLOSS.

For purposes of theoretical study, the gloss explains the syntactic and/or semantic function of each morpheme. It gives a strictly literal equivalent of each morphological element in a word or string of words. (It is usually written between single quotes, and it can also include notations such as # or ! or |.)

The important thing is that no liberties can be taken for the sake of adjusting to the syntax of the language being used to explain it. The free translation can be, and often is, supplied in addition to the gloss.

In this case, Matt's author has a verb in the aboriginal language that means 'cortar'. The author represented it syntactically as follows:

CR cortar3O3SIMPFANT

That's the first level. Each element between quotes represents the meaning or function of a morpheme.

Next, the author gave it a gloss to make the notation understandable. In this case, the aboriginal language is expressing a nuance and a syntactic structure that is difficult to express in Portuguese or English. Keep in mind that these aboriginal cultures make distinctions that we're not familiar with. The author glossed the verb as:

'tinha estado ficando corto'

Now Matt has to show how those morphemes would be explained in English for the English version of the book. My answer was:

'had been being cut'

Since this is just a verb, it has no context and it's not going to make any sense standing alone. Maybe it never had a context, and this was just an example concocted by the author. On the other hand, it's possible to imagine a context in which a woodsman might say:

As the tree was being cut, a bird flew out of its branches.

To round out this explanation and emphasize how nuances differ, let me give an example from mountain dialect from the southeastern United States, descended directly from Elizabethan English. They say "I might go," "I could go," and "I might could go." It's a nuance that modern English doesn't have. So if the speakers in Matt's case are accustomed to saying the equivalent of: "The tree had been being cut," it might not make sense to us, but it makes sense to them.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2006-08-10 02:31:17 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I meant to say "each element between question marks."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 days (2006-08-16 18:39:30 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To match ‘tinha estado ficando preto’, you could say 'had been becoming cut' -- but that doesn't sound very natural at all in English. If my critics had trouble with 'had been being cut', I daresay they would gag at 'had been becoming cut'.
They can't really be truly parallel because 'cutting' requires an AGENT; 'becoming black/blackening' is a self-generated process.

In other words, a tree can't become cut without someone cutting it, so 'cut' is in a different ballpark. The only other would be to say somthing like 'had been becoming smaller'.
Selected response from:

Muriel Vasconcellos
United States
Local time: 00:16
Grading comment
I'm going with the "had been becoming X" ... I know it is ugly, but it seems the most accurate. At the cost of bit of intelligibility, we gain some accuracy and I think that is more important. Readers can always look to the morphemes for explanation (poor, poor readers!)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5'had been being cut'
Muriel Vasconcellos


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
'had been being cut'


Explanation:
I can't think of anything else it could be.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2006-08-10 02:30:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

First of all, the free translation would be: "was being cut." But that is not the GLOSS.

For purposes of theoretical study, the gloss explains the syntactic and/or semantic function of each morpheme. It gives a strictly literal equivalent of each morphological element in a word or string of words. (It is usually written between single quotes, and it can also include notations such as # or ! or |.)

The important thing is that no liberties can be taken for the sake of adjusting to the syntax of the language being used to explain it. The free translation can be, and often is, supplied in addition to the gloss.

In this case, Matt's author has a verb in the aboriginal language that means 'cortar'. The author represented it syntactically as follows:

CR cortar3O3SIMPFANT

That's the first level. Each element between quotes represents the meaning or function of a morpheme.

Next, the author gave it a gloss to make the notation understandable. In this case, the aboriginal language is expressing a nuance and a syntactic structure that is difficult to express in Portuguese or English. Keep in mind that these aboriginal cultures make distinctions that we're not familiar with. The author glossed the verb as:

'tinha estado ficando corto'

Now Matt has to show how those morphemes would be explained in English for the English version of the book. My answer was:

'had been being cut'

Since this is just a verb, it has no context and it's not going to make any sense standing alone. Maybe it never had a context, and this was just an example concocted by the author. On the other hand, it's possible to imagine a context in which a woodsman might say:

As the tree was being cut, a bird flew out of its branches.

To round out this explanation and emphasize how nuances differ, let me give an example from mountain dialect from the southeastern United States, descended directly from Elizabethan English. They say "I might go," "I could go," and "I might could go." It's a nuance that modern English doesn't have. So if the speakers in Matt's case are accustomed to saying the equivalent of: "The tree had been being cut," it might not make sense to us, but it makes sense to them.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2006-08-10 02:31:17 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I meant to say "each element between question marks."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 days (2006-08-16 18:39:30 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To match ‘tinha estado ficando preto’, you could say 'had been becoming cut' -- but that doesn't sound very natural at all in English. If my critics had trouble with 'had been being cut', I daresay they would gag at 'had been becoming cut'.
They can't really be truly parallel because 'cutting' requires an AGENT; 'becoming black/blackening' is a self-generated process.

In other words, a tree can't become cut without someone cutting it, so 'cut' is in a different ballpark. The only other would be to say somthing like 'had been becoming smaller'.

Muriel Vasconcellos
United States
Local time: 00:16
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
I'm going with the "had been becoming X" ... I know it is ugly, but it seems the most accurate. At the cost of bit of intelligibility, we gain some accuracy and I think that is more important. Readers can always look to the morphemes for explanation (poor, poor readers!)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Susy Ordaz: Muriel, grammatically this makes no sense. It´s not the past perfect continuous, and what does it mean?
2 hrs
  -> I have given an explanation of what a gloss is in the answer above. I hope this helps.

neutral  Luiza Modesto: Susy, the Portuguese version makes no sense either. Muriel, thanks for taking your time to explain. Wow, this is all new to me. Thanks again. :)
5 hrs
  -> I have given an explanation of what a gloss is in the answer above. I hope it helps.

agree  Fernando Domeniconi: Very interesting!
19 hrs
  -> Thanks, Fernando!
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Changes made by editors
Aug 10, 2006 - Changes made by Susy Ordaz:
Language pairPortuguese to English » English to Portuguese
Aug 9, 2006:
Kudoz queueIn queue » Public


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